Over the years, I’ve heard it all and seen it all. I want to share some tenant excuses with you so that you can be prepared. One of the hardest issues to deal with property is the people. Determining who really is telling the truth versus who is trying to tell you a ‘story’ is almost impossible. The best thing to do is to conduct every transaction by the book. Make sure every tenant knows their lease and what is expected of them.
Here are some tenant excuses you may hear along the way:
• Family member died or is in the hospital.
• Lost debit card or misplaced checkbook. Sometimes a friend had even borrowed their card. We told them they needed to go to their bank and do two things: withdraw their rent money and report their debit card as being lost or stolen.
• Change in paycheck schedule. A pay date change can alter the ability to pay on time. But that isn’t an excuse for not paying your rent because an employer is required by law to provide advance notice of changing pay dates.
• Lost job. Always verify this claim with the employer. If the tenant won’t let you speak with their employer, then they either don’t have a job or they haven’t lost their job.
• Car trouble. Their vehicle broke down, so they used their rent money to pay the mechanic. Ask to see the receipt. If they can’t produce a paid invoice, then the story is probably a falsehood.
How do you know if someone is telling the truth? It’s hard. But after hearing the same excuse several times from the same tenant I started keeping notes in our management software. Guess what I found? A pattern of excuses (lies).
How did I combat it? Simple. All “excuses” had to be documented or proven. If someone was in the hospital I needed a doctor’s note, if someone died I needed the obituary, if a debit card was lost then I needed speak with someone at the bank and so on. It didn’t take long for word to get out.
Guess what happened? People stopped using excuses (lies).
One bad tenant will, like one rotten apple, affect your complex in ways you won’t imagine. I’ve once had a stable complex go shaky because one tenant told others they had duped me. Remember, you aren’t a charity. You are a business. Collecting rent pays your bills and protects your investment. Due to all the issues of managing tenants, we focus on govt back and council backed programs for social housing. Due to this we have no voids…no management and no maintenance. The hard part is finding the properties and then getting them passed. Plus banks do not like lending on these. However it is just one niche and we have blocks of flats and buy to lets as well.
Feel free to share this information with a friend!